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Video: Mexico's Most Active Volcano Erupts, Spews Ash Cloud Nearly 20,000 Feet

Officials say threat levels are at a "yellow phase 2," and are warning people to stay away from the volcano and its crater "due to the danger of falling ballistic fragments."

Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano burst to life on Thursday in a spectacular gush of lava and clouds of ash that hurled incandescent rock about 20,000 feet into the sky.

The dramatic explosion of the active stratovolcano, a little over 40 miles southeast of Mexico City, was captured on video by Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention, CENAPRED.

Officials say no one was hurt as a result of the eruption.

Still, CENAPRED has set the warning level at "yellow phase 2," meaning there is no imminent danger. But the center is urging people not to get too close to the volcano or the crater, which is even more hazardous "due to the danger of falling ballistic fragments."

A satellite recorded the explosion of Popocatépetl — a name that means "smoky mountain" in the indigenous Náhuatl language.

The satellite also "detected sulfur dioxide in the plume," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrote in a tweet.

The head of civil protection, David Leon Romero, said the hours following the eruption were mostly quiet, despite "268 exhalations" that were accompanied by water vapor, gas and light amounts of ash, according to El Universal.

Popocatépetl, known locally as El Popo, is Mexico's most active volcano and North America's second-highest volcano. More than 20 specialized devices monitor the 17,700 ft volcano 24 hours a day.

El Popo erupted twice in late July.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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